As the saga of the pre-game national anthem rolls on, it’s inevitable that people on both sides of the issue will eventually make ill-advised moves that only serve to enflame the crisis.
And a crisis it is, at least in the eyes NFL team owners who have been watching in abject horror as their profits dwindle amid a backlash from fans infuriated by the disrespect shown by players taking a knee before our flag.
That’s why the NFL’s big whigs were meeting, to find some kind of solution that both assuages the players and brings back the fans.
And that’s when Bob McNair, owner of the Houston Texans, chimed in with what he thought was an innocent figure of speech that almost lost him his team.
Speaking at a meeting between owners, team executives and commissioner Roger Goodell, Houston Texans owner Bob McNair reportedly said “we can’t have the inmates running the prison” in response to NFL players taking a knee during the United States national anthem.
On Friday, Seth Wickersham and Don Van Natta Jr. of ESPN.com detailed the protest-focused meetings this month, which featured both private gatherings and a separate large session that also included players. They noted McNair’s statement in the owners’ exchange of concerns “stunned some in the room.”
McNair apologized for the statement on Friday on Twitter:
Statement from Texans Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Robert C. McNair: pic.twitter.com/EXdwKZ4y4x
— Texans PR (@TexansPR) October 27, 2017
According to Sarah Barshop of ESPN, Texans players wanted to walk out of practice after the comments and had to be persuaded to stay, per Adam Schefter of ESPN. According to Schefter, Houston’s star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins was not present at practice due to the comments from McNair.